From Collaboration to Version-Control Hell and Back Again

CollaborationCollaboration is essential to creating informative reports and spreadsheet analytics. Multiple individuals across multiple departments in multiple offices contribute information, usually by filling in the details on a template or similar form. Data and other information are collected from the different groups and departments before being compiled, analyzed and consolidated into one master version. Manually collecting data from multiple sources is very labor-intensive and can quickly create “version control hell.”

Not long ago, it was impossible for multiple individuals to contribute to a single spreadsheet model simultaneously. The process usually started with the creation of a spreadsheet or template that was emailed to individuals that had information to contribute, with the understanding that once the modifications were made the file would be saved with the sequential number in the file name to indicate it was the latest version. If the version was saved and someone came in with new information, the newest version had to be revised and assigned a new number. It was a flawed process thanks to the high probability of human error resulting in multiple versions of the same spreadsheet being passed from one group to the next. It was also incredibly slow.

A Single Source of Truth Done Right the First Time

To streamline the process, web-based tools have been developed to provide businesses with the ability to bring together anyone with pertinent information to contribute to a spreadsheet or report simultaneously. This eliminates the lengthy collection/compilation/consolidation process, the need to develop presentations to discuss findings, and the possibility for multiple versions of the same information to circulate.

A core advantage of a web-based system is that it allows organizations to bring people together in live sessions, regardless of location, to collaborate on discussions concerning business models and assumptions about data. This approach ensures that benefits will occur at the outset and during the reporting/updating phase.